Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

March 26, 2010

Pathway to the cross

Dimensional artwork offers unique view of Easter story

By MARK MAYNARD - The Independent

HUNTINGTON--A church in Huntington is offering a different kind of look at the Easter story this week.

Pathway to the Cross uses dimensional artwork where visitors walk past and review. They are accompanied with the appropriate New Testament scripture and some prophecy scriptures from the Old Testament.

The program at the Twenty-Sixth Street Baptist Church, at 2510 10th Ave., uses 22 panels that takes visitors on a 25-minute journey.

“It’s everything that happened to Christ from his entry into Jerusalem,” said Sandy Hand, who is the organizer of the project. “Everything is scripture-based. We used King James, NIV and the Living Bible.”

Hand has been doing the panel project for the past eight years.

Her inspiration came eight years ago when she was attending Baptist Temple. Hand was a choir member there and the choir had decided not to an Easter cantata.

“We had done a program after 9/11 and then a Christmas program,” she said. “Everybody was tired. We said we didn’t want to do a full-fledged Easter production.”

Hand, who also enjoyed banners at presentation, then had the idea of putting together panels that would tell the story of Easter.

“It really kind of clicked with me,” he said. “We would follow a sequence and I could put the story on those panels. It has just grown.”

Seven panels have been added, bringing the total to 22 with 21 of them being dimensional artwork. Something from each panel flows out into the room, giving the effect of being in the scene.

The presentation has outgrown two previous sites before moving to the ground floor of the Twenty-Sixth Street Baptist Church. Visitors can make the walk-through beginning Monday at 11 a.m.

The doors will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Saturday and then from around noon to 3 p.m. on Easter Sunday. There are no steps to climb with all displays in the classrooms on the ground level.

This year the panels, which are 8x8, starts with the creation, then to the nativity and then to Christ explaining to the disciples how he will soon die. The balance of the panels center on the events of the Holy Week, from Christ’s entry into Jerusalem to his crucifixion on the cross.

At the end, visitors go into an area called “Life without Christ” and then into the cross room where they can write whatever they choose to give to God and actually nail it to a cross.

“This is a very humbling act for most, especially after walking past all the dimensional panels with their scriptures,” Hand said.

Privacy is respected, she said. No one reads the requests or praises nailed to the cross and they are burned in a prayer ceremony at the church after the presentation is over. The ashes are saved until the next year when they are put in an urn and displayed in the cross room.

“Understand all that Christ taught us while He walked this Earth is so very important in our own Christian walk,” said Twenty-Sixth Street Baptist Church pastor Tim Arthur. “The Pathway is a visual aid that has the capability of creating an atmosphere whereby we can increase our insight of His gift of salvation for us.”

The church asks that groups call ahead so they can make the Pathway journey together, Hand said.

“We love cantatas, dramas and musicals but this experience is a new venue — art where the attendee depends only on what they read and see,” she said.

Call the church at (304) 522-4125 for information.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.